Reclaiming the Wonder

I fear the older we get, the greater we risk growing indifferent, if not callous, to the marvels of the world around us. With the constant barrage of political news, the addiction to social media, and our hectic Western lifestyle, we Americans are easily distracted. And, as often happens, we lose our sense of awe of the wonders of God’s creation.

We are created for wonder!

We yearn for it. We long to be amazed. I remember the first time I drove up to the top of Pike’s Peak. The anticipation grew with each winding turn.  Standing atop the Peak and surrounded by purple mountain majesties, I was not disappointed. I was overwhelmed by the sense that what my eyes beheld could not have been created through blind indifference and chance. 

The human race is designed to live in awe of something, and whatever that something is will shape the direction of our lives. All of creation points us to our awesome God. Yet, many seek purpose, meaning, and satisfaction in the creation rather than the Creator. God intended for the wonder and awe of the earth to serve as signs pointing the way to Him.

Reclaiming that wonder is not easy. 

We, adults, having lost the curiosity of our inner-child, tend to become bored with the familiar, and grow indifferent to everyday things.  Reclaiming the wonder requires a recalibration of our senses, our values, and our vision. Nothing does that quite like seeing things — for the first time — through the eyes of a child. A child’s first response to beholding such sights of wonder should remind us of the sheer awesomeness of God’s creation.

A few years back, I had the delightful privilege to accompany three of my grandsons (ages four, three, and one) as they visited the Georgia Aquarium. Their reactions reminded their Poppy of how we humans should respond in the face of beauty and wonder. 

The senses of these three reflectors of God’s glory were on high alert, with every sight, sound, and smell eliciting a response that made the trip ever so worthwhile. The enormous Aquarium facility became a wide-eyed wonder for the boys. With their heads perpetually tilted upward, their mouths hung slightly open as if the following words to be reverently uttered would be “Oh my!”  The look on their faces can only be described as that of breathless fascination. Soon the questions began to flow. 

  • Is that where Nemo lives?”
  • “Where’s Dory?”
  • “Those seahorses are just like mine at home.”
  • “Does a nurse shark take care of the fish that are sick?”
  • “How do they breathe underwater?”
  • “I wish I had gills.”

Yet to me, the one response I delighted most in hearing was that of my three-year-old grandson, as he reacted to watching the sea otters move with graceful glee. “Poppy, can I get in there?” I had to hold back the laughter and the tears. Isn’t that how we all should respond to the beauty and wonders of this world?  Should not we all want to be “in there?”  

The fact is, we are.  

Every day, every minute, we dwell among such beauty. We just need to stop and behold it. Thanks to three wide-eyed, captivated pre-schoolers, this old-timer has started to reclaim the wonder.  

It gets better.

Years ago, my two-year-old grandson sat in the Crying Room at church. While he was well behaved, a nearby four-year-old could not sit still. Hyperactive was an understatement. My grandson watched, with curiosity, the behavior of this 4-year-old dynamo, no doubt wondering if he could get away with acting the same way. Hoping to keep the 4-year-old from becoming a distraction, his grandmother grabbed him and pointed at the large crucifix above the altar. Sounding more like an urgent plea, she stated, “See Jesus!” The 4-year-old, now mesmerized by the image, walked up to the window, stood quietly, and uttered two words, “WOW, Jesus.”

My two-year-old grandson, fascinated with the turn of events, decided to enter the conversation. With the 4-year-old’s eyes still fixed on Jesus, my grandson expressed his own amazement.

Four-year-old:  “WOW, Jesus.”

Grandson:  “WOW

Four-year-old:  “WOW, Jesus.”

Grandson:  “WOW

The crying room became a sanctuary of chuckles as parents could only smile as a holy sense of wonder-filled these two youngsters. I could not help but recall how Jesus admonished his disciples to allow the children to come unto him, “for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Mark 10:14) It was a reminder that we adults can become so familiar with the common and routine that we fail to see the wonder surrounding us.

Oh, that I never yawn in the face of wonder, that I am never blind to the daily miracles in nature. Oh, that I will forever be awestruck by that which is worthy and never cease to be amazed at the grace of God. 

Maybe that’s why whenever I look up at a star-filled night sky, I have a sudden urge to fall on my knees. And to think that the Creator of all that I can see chose to hang on a cross and die for me…

Now it is my turn to say, “Wow! Wow, Jesus, Wow!

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